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    Posted August 7, 2012 by

    Hotel Chain laughs at, makes disabled vet crawl down stairs


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     matthewbubb served with Staff Sgt. Staples in Baghdad, Iraq, and learned about the incident from another soldier who reposted the account from Staples' Facebook page. He said he posted the story on CNN iReport to raise awareness about the mistreatment of all disabled people. After the iReport was posted, CNN affiliate KOSA CBS-7 in West Texas spoke with Staples and the Best Western and confirmed some details of the story. CNN's Situation Room aired the story on Friday.

    'By the time I put up my iReport, I'd say the post had been reposted several hundred times on Facebook, and the iReport helped garner more attention to it,' the iReporter said. 'I think people sort of underestimate the military community when it comes to supporting our brothers, whether they're current brothers or fallen brothers or disabled brothers. Just to see the mistreatment of one of us makes our blood boil.'

    In a statement provided to CNN, the Best Western said it was still collecting details and conducting an investigation into Staples' account:

    "Many of you have expressed concern regarding an incident that took place at a Best Western hotel this week. While we are still collecting details and an internal investigation of facts are still occurring, Best Western is understanding and appreciative that this is a very personal and sensitive issue for troops and veterans alike.

    "We are truly sorry for the incident that took place during his stay. A power outage impacted the local area including the elevator at the property. We spoke directly to Mr. Staples and offered a full and sincere apology and reimbursed his expenses while at Best Western."
    - dsashin, CNN iReport producer

    SSG Chad Staples (medically retired) was in the Scout Platoon of the 1st Battalion 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, the Red Devils. While defending our country, Staples was shot and paralyzed in Iraq in April of 2007. On August 7th, 2012, he stayed in a Best Western hotel for a 6-hour necessary pit stop in Monahans, Texas. After a power outage left the elevator out of service, Staples called down to the front desk to recieve assistance to get from the third floor back down to the main level so he could continue on his trip.


    This is the conversation that unfolded:

    Chad: Hi the elevator isn't working.

    Holly: It's been down for about an hour.

    Chad: Can you send someone up to help me down the stairs?

    Holly: Are you serious?

    Chad: (Explains that he is wheelchair bound.)

    Holly: Well, what do you want me to do about it?

    Chad: Are you f***ing serious? I'm in a f***ing wheelchair.

    Holly: (Chuckles.)


    Staples recieved no further help from the manager and was not given any assistance down the three flights of stairs. Instead, he was forced to throw his bags and his wheelchair down the steps and then crawl down the steps on his backside.


    In a plea to friends and family for help, Staples said this, "...I made a formal complaint after the manager played dumb. The file number is 120806-3855. The lady at the other end sated its a liability thing, and assured me the complaint would be passed on. But, we all know what goes on with these types of things." And so, help, they did.


    Family, friends and fellow Americans have made complaints on social media sites, news sites and have been calling in to Best Western to demand a public apology. So far, no public statement has been made by Best Western. If you would like to help in this boycott, you can write to PO Box 42007 Phoenix, AZ 85080


    Best Western’s Public Relation’s Manager upon being notified of this story replied back that, quote, “I just got the email and am looking into this very serious matter.

    This was their official response:


    “While all Best Western hotels are independently owned and operated, we strive to have consistently excellent customer care standards in place at all of our member hotels. We have received the information from Mr. Staples regarding his stay, and we are truly sorry to hear of this matter that occurred during an unexpected area power outage that affected numerous businesses and many people.  Customer care agents, the hotel’s general manager and a brand senior vice president have all reached out to or talked directly with Mr. Staples and hopefully have resolved the matter to his satisfaction.Best Western International has been an industry leader in proactively communicating ADA requirements to its hotels and also has specific training available to address the needs of our disabled guests.  We believe it imperative that all guests are treated with dignity and respect.  We will continue to emphasize this training to our member hotels.We respect Mr. Staples’s status as a disabled veteran and the sacrifices he has made for our country.  We can only hope that Mr. Staples will stay at a Best Western hotel in the future and afford us an opportunity to express our gratitude.”


    I don’t know if that hollow apology could do any justice, and as of right now I don’t think the individual hotel or franchise has taken any action to change their policies or reprimand their employees. The facts are still they violated a person’s civil liberties and possibly OSHA regulations as well. For now the public outcry for further justice seems to agree that this is simply not enough.


    Thanks to Cara G. for the edit.

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